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Inside and outside

To think about considering people in the round, and not making snap judgements based on appearance.

by Rachel Bird

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about considering people in the round, and not making snap judgements based on appearance.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a selection of about 7 items all of low value, e.g. a chocolate bar, an apple, £1 coin, a pen, bag of sweets, carrier bag, etc.
  • A screwed up envelope with a note hidden inside it (£5 usually is enough to impress primary-aged children, but you can use whatever you prefer). If you are concerned that a canny child will see through your subterfuge, replace the note with a scribbled IOU for an amount you are prepared to lose!
  • When you arrive set a table up with all the items displayed on it.


  1. Say that you’ve been very busy this week, so you haven’t had time to prepare an assembly. So instead you thought that you’d pick a volunteer and they can just come up and choose something from the table.

  2. Tell the volunteer he/she can choose anything on the table and they’re allowed to keep it. It’s a bit of an apology for your being so disorganized!

  3. Comment on what they have chosen. They will usually choose the £1 coin, or the thing of the most ‘value’. Ask them why they chose their particular thing.

    Say that you can understand their choice, of course it seems sensible to choose the highest value option. Ask if they considered the envelope?

    Take the note out of the envelope and hold it up. Usually the children gasp and find this quite surprising and exciting!
  4. Say that often we’re so busy looking at what’s on the outside that we miss what’s on the inside. Sometimes the treasure in things is hidden and so we don’t see it.

  5. It is often the same with people. We are so concerned with what’s on the outside – what they look like, the clothes they wear, how they talk or where they live – that we do not really get to know them and so we miss out on what they’re really like on the inside.

  6. Tell the story of how King David was chosen to be king. Samuel was a wise old man who was guided by God to choose the next king. The story is found in 1 Samuel 16.1-13. David was not even there when Samuel was making the choice – he was considered too small and young. All the other men who were there were big and strong and handsome – ideal to be king. But God said to Samuel that he should not choose any of these men to be king; instead he should choose David to be king – even though on the outside he didn’t look like much.

    God said: ‘People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts’ (1 Samuel 16.7b, CEV).

    The story in the Bible tells us that David went on to do some awesome things for God – of course he wasn’t always perfect, but God knew his heart.

  7. Our challenge for this week is to remember this assembly (hold up the note and the envelope), and to try and think about the inside as well as the outside of people.

Time for reflection


Sitting still, let’s think about what we’ve heard.
Think about times when perhaps we’ve forgotten to get to know the inside of people,
and have just been bothered about what’s on the outside.
Think about trying harder to look on the inside too.


Thank you, God, that you don’t just see what’s on the outside,

but you see the inside of a person.

We pray that you will help us to do that too.



‘Guess how I feel’ (Come and Praise, 89)

Publication date: December 2005   (Vol.7 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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